April 22, 2011

Are you looking at social media like a magic potion?

Social media isn’t your secret potion that will help you save more from your advertising budget and spend less on marketing. It is part of the bigger picture and it will gain importance. But you need to remember it is not the secret sauce to your cost cutting measures.  It’s relationship rather than advertising. Do not look at these networks like it’s your daily ad insertions. If you look at it as an ad, then it stops working. Social media works best when you make friends fans. If you believe social media=viral=sales. Then you are in for a big shock. […]
April 21, 2011

Social media isn’t free?

Most clients get excited about social media because they have heard two things. One, it’s free. Two, it’s easy. Nope. That’s not true. Just because you have a Facebook account and a Twitter doesn’t mean it is easy for your company. Social media isn’t free. And it’s not cheap. Consider these – social media takes a lot of time. Planning takes time and specialist to help you takes fees. It takes commitment of resources behind the plan. It also means financial commitment for personnel – internal and external to manage it. Management, maintenance, moderation. Who’s going to devise the strategy? […]
April 20, 2011

Is social media counter intuitive to you?

Probably. If you aren’t very used to be being authentic. Authenticity builds credibility. Social media allows your company to bare naked in front of your fans. But how much will you take off? Especially when you are a big company? What’s your social media policy? How will you engage your fans? Social media used right is about one on one conversation. So, you may have a big problem trying to figure out how to have one on one conversation if you have never done that before. Whether you are big or small. I reckon it is more difficult if you […]
April 19, 2011

Do you have permission to move?

Poor slave. You refuse to cut the chains that shackles you. Waiting for permission as if anyone is going to give it to you. Meanwhile, you use management sound bites to impress. You laugh and pretend you are networking and all these buddies of yours will give you business and orchestrate the world for you. In the shape and form you want and need. That somehow, you will be paid good money. And go home early. And love your job. But deep down you don’t love your job. You hate it but you don’t know what else you love. You […]
April 18, 2011

Why are you not getting behind the cause?

Everything you do at work has an objective. There is a cause. There is, usually also a course that everyone has agreed to take. If you are part of the team, you need to get behind the cause. It’s your duty. To not do that is to point the gun at your friends. People who help you stay afloat in the sea of business. You need to see how you define your role. Let’s say we are all doing a campaign as a team. And in this team is the media owner, and the media independent (or in some cases […]
April 15, 2011

How do you add value?

If you are on a team devising and executing a campaign. Ask yourself, how can you add value? Otherwise, you should not waste your team member’s time. No, sorry. You are a waste to the world’s resources. Here are some questions you should ask yourself. How can I do better? It’s not for anyone else. It’s for you. Your reputation. Your promotion. You pay raise. What else is needed? After everything is done, there will be things to tidy. Things that you can do to make it shine. Leo Burnett called these people the “lonely man” in his December 1st, […]
April 14, 2011

What is this blog about?

It is about creativity. It is about productivity. It is about stupidity. It is about idiosyncrasies. It is self-criticism. It’s about saying things from 18 years of frustrations and wanting to change the world. A stroke at a time.  It is about DOing. There is too much talk. Too much BS. It is about showing that it is possible. It is about making things possible even if you lack resources. It is about shutting some people up. So if you have to criticize, make sure you can do better. Suggestions are welcomed. But I will ask you, what have you […]
April 13, 2011

Can you keep up?

Usually money is the key motivator for someone to copy something. Good luck to you if you are copying someone especially because the idea she has executed is making her money. Before I copy someone, I think I will ask myself if I can keep up. How can I keep up? I will ask myself if I have more passion. Well, if I have more passion, I would have started on the idea already anyway. I would not have to copy, would I? So before you copy something, ask yourself if you can be consistent. Even when there is nothing […]
April 12, 2011

If ideas are expensive, execution is priceless?

Robert Sutton in his blog wrote about the 17 things he believes. In number 13, he wrote what he calls the Sutton’s Law: “If you think that you have a new idea, you are wrong. Someone else probably already had it. This idea isn’t original either; I stole it from someone else.” And I agree. Too often you feel your ideas are so great and it will make you so much money. Give you fame. But you are wrong. Someone else has probably thought about it first. The easiest thing to see if some one else has thought about it? […]
April 11, 2011

Can people take you bona fide?

What does it take to do business with you? I am not talking about convenience and such. I am talking about trust. One basic element that allows society to function at its very best. Everyday, when I get into my car, I trust that all other road users will abide the rules and laws that govern the safety of our roads. When we do business with each other, we take it in good faith (Latin – bona fide. I am sure you have seen it in legal documents) you will abide by the same principles. That of trust. When you […]
April 8, 2011

Is it your chance at stardom?

When you sit in your chair behind a table and we are presenting? Remember, you are not Jennifer Lopez, Simon Cowell or Mary Murphy. You are there to see if the solutions we are presenting works. There are challenges that your brand or company is facing and we are there to offer help. So don’t throw us any of the questions and comments like the judges in a reality show. That is a show. It’s for entertainment value. We are not there to entertain you. We are there as your equal partner sharing with you potential solutions to the best […]
April 7, 2011

What are you scribbling?

It’s easy to see what we are doing and think – I can do that. So when we present, you can scribble all you want and copy every idea we presented. But you forget one thing, what we do is like a chef. Everyone thinks they can cook fried rice. You can see us cook, and even attempt every step on your own. But it will never taste the same as what we cooked. Why? Because it takes expertise. Power and precision that comes with years of practice just like the karateka executing a gyaku-zuki. When the karateka does it, […]
April 6, 2011

Are risks helping you make a better jump?

If you don’t push the boundaries you will always be lamenting how you are stuck and stagnating. Sales aren’t moving. Things are the same. It used to work before. Now it is not. Of course it is not. You cannot expect to do the same things over and over again and expect different results. Because things change, circumstances change. What you apply has to change. You need to take risks. Attempt the scary and with it come off with some bruises and scars. But having attempted, you will jump farther. That makes you excel. Gain knowledge and insight. And new […]
April 5, 2011

Are you proud of what you are selling?

If I won’t have my kids eat it, I won’t sell it. If I won’t advice my mom to use it, I won’t sell it. If I won’t tell my wife to slap that cream on her face, I won’t sell it. It’s not about having the market decide. You must surely believe in the role that you play. The power in your hands to change perception and affect action. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be selling your skills. If you don’t believe in your skills, you are lying to your client. Selling them quack. They pay you good money for your […]
April 4, 2011

Why aren’t apple chips selling better than potato chips?

If you are in the snacks business and believe what consumers tell you then you should be selling apple chips. But apple chips don’t sell as well as potato chips. I know if I order my favorite colonel recipe, I want it with the skin and all. Even when I know it’s not as healthy a choice. Do I know that it is unhealthy? Do I know how to make a better choice? What am I using to make this choice? My brain or my tongue? Is it better to listen or observe?
April 1, 2011

How do you create conversations?

How does a brand create great conversations with its consumers? Be a good listener. While you want to sell, people only buy when they trust you. That trust comes in the long term when you listen to what your consumers are saying. Whether through your FGDs, quantitative research, observations, feedback or your customer service hotlines. Prepare for conversations. To prepare for conversations means you need to know who you are talking to. To understand that respect is gained when you know the innuendos, subtleties, interests, fears and everything that makes your consumers human and individuals rather than the demographic and […]
March 31, 2011

How can you fight project burnout?

You work on the brand day-in day-out — whether you are on the agency side or the client side. Sure, there will be days when you feel burned out. How do you overcome project burnout? Be practical. There is only so much you can do in a day. There is no need to put too much into a day. Your craft needs artistic juice. Those juice needs space and time and energy. So, be practical with what you can do. Inspiration from perspiration. This sounds like it is contradicting from the earlier advice. It is not. Sometimes you will get […]
March 30, 2011

How stupid are you?

Here are five quick reasons why some ad people are stupid. You call clients stupid and think they do not know. If it has to do with science and intelligence, inevitably you will find this formula in the headline or copy. E=MC2. The very people writing it, in all likelihood don’t know what it means. You think advertising is everything. It drives sales and it makes people buy. So clients depend on you. You pretend to understand the marketing mix and fail to understand that advertising is only a sub-sub part of marketing. To you branding=marketing=advertising. When asked to tell […]
March 29, 2011

Would you still insist on the headline?

If your salary depended on it? If your cash flow depended on it? It is so easy to hide behind the pillar of a paycheck and push it to the account management (or servicing people). And say, “You idiots, you can’t sell for nuts.” Today. Today if you became a freelancer. Or started your own company, would you still say this is the best damn headline for the brand? The lesson for everyone is this: There is a value attached for every belief you champion. It has to be backed by action, passion and whatever you throw behind it. That […]
March 28, 2011

Are you just relying on data?

Are you just relying on data and market research? I am not against market research and sometimes I can be quite a fan of it. I will not go into the quotes of famous advertising gurus and their views about market research and data. Inevitably, you will find those who are very against it. Data is important. Done right and with the right analysis, you can get rich insights and you can mine gold there. But it should not be the end all be all. You need to balance your role as a marketer to be part scientist, part artist […]
March 25, 2011

How are you building affinity today?

Conversations not condescension. Conversations are essential in relationship. Whether you are selling or buying. Be it personal or professional. There is way too much one-upmanship in the business world. Watch how this creeps into the way you talk to your consumers. Be mindful how this seeps into the way you talk to your business partners. Create dialogue with them. Build a two way street. There is no need to win every time. How do you create conversations? For some of us, it means to stop talking and to start listening. Yet others need to be comfortable with the silence between […]
March 24, 2011

What questions have you asked today?

Sound questions lead to right answers. The right answers come when you have the correct premise. Correct premises can come from sound questions. Sometimes you do not have the right answers because you ask the wrong questions. Asking questions is a manifestation of curiosity. That curiosity propels you to have depth in your answers and lead you in the right path. You don’t need more answers. You need better questions. Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian writer that won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature said, “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man […]
March 23, 2011

What is your reason for being?

Meaning before marketability. Know your raison d’être. You build better relationship when you know why you are you. It gives you purpose and it focuses you. You learn to be authentic and you begin to be real. No one confuses who you are because you are clear on why you are. People buy into your being. Why you are you. Which is why the meaning behind a brand is important. The vision of the brand is critical. One that is unique and distinguished. Not the banal same old same old. Which leads us to your brand’s philosophy. A system and […]
March 22, 2011

What story are you sharing today?

Everything has a story that needs to be told. Stories humanize you. It makes people relate to you better. It has been a tool used for communications since cultures began. Every origin is a story. Every event and being is a story. Stories needs to be told. Stories give meaning. It builds meaning. It helps people remember. It evokes emotions. Makes us cry. Makes us guffaw. Rile us up. Pulls us down. Tears roll down, smiles creeps up. This is seventh of Roar Point’s ten business philosophies. Have you weaved your story for us to wear today?
March 21, 2011

Are you lighting a bonfire?

Impact not activity. Leave an impression in everything you do. Time is finite. Resources are finite. There is only so much you can do in a day. You need to weigh the opportunity costs. If that’s the case, evaluate it based on what single biggest impact you can create with what you do. It applies to you personally and the brand you handle. Confusing activities with buzz will only take you down the wrong road. 1000 lighted match sticks isn’t a bonfire. How do you start this bonfire? Try doing this: There is only one you. Are you depriving us […]
March 18, 2011

How much time do you need?

Decisions, not deliberations. With decisions comes risk. With decisions comes power. You need to decide what are you more afraid – the risk or the power that comes with decisions? The anxiety of decisions can make you deliberate more. If you understand – even if you lose what do you lose? And what’s wrong in being wrong? This awareness can unchain your courage. It will free you to decide. The anxiety of decisions is an alert for you. An alarm that rings when you are too comfortable with your deliberations. Know when it is enough and it is time to […]
March 17, 2011

How real are you?

Authenticity leads to credibility. If you want someone to believe you, you have to be real. Real in the way you conduct yourself. Staying true to your being. Being authentic means not trying to please everyone. Express yourself in the way you feel most comfortable even when it carries the risk of looking uncool. When you are uncool in your own way, you are cool. It is mindful reflection of knowing why you are and letting the world know. It is quiet contemplation of what you will do and what you won’t do and have the world understand. It is […]
March 16, 2011

What did you just say?

Truth builds trust. Seems so simple. It’s easy to forget. That’s why it needs to be written. Spoken. Given more credit. Propagated. Evangelized. No matter what is your position of influence. You have a responsibility to the world. Moral obligation, I think it’s called. It’s what you have been taught. But no matter how much you get reminded there is a tendency to get sidetracked. You may fall into a “I am OK” syndrome. Which means you rationalize why what you do is acceptable by suffocating your little voice that says, “think again.” And what you sprinkle into your marketing […]
March 15, 2011

What have you learned today?

Continuous execution breeds excellence. If you cultivate a habit to plow, pick and pluck; you are learning. Season after season you become better and better. What better way to learn but to dig, shove and plant. So, the secret is in not being afraid to walk out to the field. No ifs and buts. Only how. Brave the sun and the elements. Eventually, the fruits become juicier and juicier. The vegetables are in big bold green. You will be the best farmer around. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang […]
March 14, 2011

How is your plan working out?

Plans do not work. People DO. This doesn’t mean planning is not important. It is. You must plan the work. More importantly, work the plan.  What have been planned must be done. Productivity comes from doing. Results come from doing. When sweat hits the ground, plans start working out.This is the first of the Roar Point’s ten business philosophies. What have you done today?
March 13, 2011

What is your philosophy?

Be it a personal philosophy, business philosophy or a brand philosophy. Ponder on that question.  Because people want to do business with other people who have their own philosophy. I didn’t say this. Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy said this. (Thank you, Scott Ginsberg.) It is your take of the world. It is your own uniqueness. Scott would have called this “strategic serendipity.” Exactly 4 years ago today he entered in his blog “Behold! The Almighty Philosophy Card.” Today, Roar Point officially launch our philosophy card. Here’s our Business Philosophy: 1.    Plans Do Not Work. People DO. 2.    Continuous execution […]
March 11, 2011

What is the quality of your offering?

You can add some style into what you do. People like beautiful things. But when you assume your consumers do not understand, you underestimate them. Insult them even. Just because they do not have taste in your Klang Valley sort of manner doesn’t mean they do not think that an iPhone is cool. They still do. This leads you to a question. What is style to these people? Sure there are rules in what we do be it retail advertising or a brand ad or an advertorial. But the moment we stop to challenge it and ask how can we […]
March 10, 2011

What is the one thing?

What is the one thing you can forward and take action on today? Do you have too many projects that are just stuck in the midst of nowhere and too much talk? Choose that one thing and advance it. Not by big steps but looking at the immediate next step. THE ONE thing that will take your project off the runway. Very often it isn’t some big challenge or problem that is holding it back. Very often the problem is you. You refuse to look. You ignore the challenge. You blame. You negotiate with your to-do list (in which case […]
March 9, 2011

What’s wrong with you handling the brand?

There is nothing wrong for so long as you know you have to be loyal to the brand. By that it means you need to think about the people who are having a real relationship with the brand. Often times, you call these your consumers. Some times to make the terms sexy you may call them fans, or advocates. The challenge for you is to keep your personal interests, hobbies, fears, love and whatever else you as a brand manager or a product manager or a marketing manager out of the equation. Tough. We know. We have the same challenge. […]
March 8, 2011

Is absolutism written in your brand guidelines?

Some brand guidelines are like fine china. A little crack it loses its value. Mom goes yelling and all hell breaks loose. No one makes a noise. If Mom can sue she will sue us. Gosh, that means no more requests for anything else that week, if we are lucky. Mom may decide to tell Dad. Then, more hell. You wonder if it will all end. You may decide to run away from home. Others are like an engine. It takes in air, fuel, and spark. It combusts, it takes the pressure created. But at the right time it releases […]
March 7, 2011

How simple is your promotion mechanics?

The whole idea behind a promotion is to increase sales and put in some excitement into your brand. But sometimes people who come up with promotion mechanics get carried away. Either they have not been a consumer for so long or they hide in their marketing and advertising tower smoking whatever they smoke and drinking whatever they drink, they forget, they forget consumers want it to be simple. As. Simple. As. Possible. There are too many things in their lives. Besides, the attention you want from them? Two dozen other brands want it too. So, uncomplicate it for people who […]
March 4, 2011

Does your brand suffer from multiple personality disorder?

Ever so often you need to be a little careful with your brand’s personality. You know those of us in advertising and marketing so like to define our brand’s personality as if it were human. Nothing wrong with it. Do not disagree with it. In fact, I am quite fond of it too. A well defined brand personality, tone and manner help humanize the brand. Gives the communication some form of parameters to move. Ensures the consumers know how to relate to it. Even helps attracts the type of consumers we are coveting. Only challenge is for those who have […]
March 3, 2011

What if there is no “what if”?

What can you achieve for your brand then? What if you challenge yourself to do something you have always wanted to do for your brand in record time? Ship it. Get it done. No ifs, no buts.
March 2, 2011

Is apoptosis in your marketing plan?

Apoptosis is programmed cell death. Too much of it causes atrophy to our body. Too little of it causes uncontrolled cell growth like cancer. Apoptosis works on a complex chain of signals. To hone a great marketing programme, you need to know when to kill certain elements. Who are you relying to give you the signals? What signals are you picking up today?
March 1, 2011

Is your brand’s love transactional or relational?

Because business is very real. It’s all about the money. Money makes the world goes round. Some say love makes the world goes round. Some say, when consumers love you enough they buy you, money changes hands. Hence, the world goes round. For consumers to love you, fall in love with you; you need to start courting them. How have you planned that courtship? Is that courtship plan too transactional? In that case it won’t work. He would be marrying you for the money. Not love. So, don’t make your potential lover feel you want money from him but you […]
February 28, 2011

Are you sure it is a creative challenge?

Yes, we understand. Your brief wants us to increase sales by 54% in 12 months. You have admitted the features in your brand are commoditized. It’s all the Chinese’s fault. They can manufacture every feature you slap on your brand at half the price and ship double your speed. Ok, we understand. You don’t really know what your competitive advantage is and now you want us to give you a competitive advantage. Via communications. Nice. You tell us it’s a creative challenge. Or you say, “It’s a challenge for the agency.” Of course it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge like […]
February 25, 2011

What’s your 2% plan?

The group that buys you but no one else. Doggedly for the past 20 years? That small group that evangelises you without being paid or being called brand ambassadors? If you have a database, great. It’s there. If you have a customer service number? Great. She will likely call to let you know how to improve your services. Speak at length. Give comments on your site. You may not know her. But Sarah the telephonist? She’s on the first name basis with her and maybe a hundred others like her. Your brand has a 2% crowd that does this. They […]
February 24, 2011

Have you thought of a better spin?

Digging into the past can reveal a host of treasures. It can crystalise opportunities that can be resurfaced. It can even show you what has worked before. Now, that’s cool. Just like fashion. Eventually it will come back and be happening again right? Right. But only certain things work that way. A lot of others? If you bring it back, usually people have a word for it. Vintage. So, unless you want your brand to be known as vintage, bring back that old way of how it was advertised. For Paris sake, put a new spin on it. Otherwise, only […]
February 23, 2011

Would you bear to murder your brand name?

Sure. You like descriptive words. I know. I like it too. I get it. But descriptive doesn’t mean good. Descriptive doesn’t mean you do not need to build meaning around it. In fact, descriptive can be bad. So bad, you might as well murder it before you have too much heart invested in it. That brand name of yours that is descriptive? You like it because it helps you describe what you are selling. It short-cuts your brand building, initially. There is instant recognition. People know what it does. “Skrew-drifer” tell me it screws something, nice. Then what happens? You become […]
February 22, 2011

How elegant is your math?

Every so often you may want to start a promotion of sorts. Or a discount. Or a contest. Thing is, before you do this, pull out that calculator and knock those numbers out. What is your objective for doing that contest? How much do you have? What can you achieve? What is the participation rate? You laugh thinking this is not you. But walk around the hypermarket today or drop by the nearest 7-11, look at the contests out there. They offer prizes so tiny it is not even worth an iota of effort for consumers to fill in the […]
February 21, 2011

How many smiles did your brand measure today?

Personally, when you donate money to a charity, do you feel better about yourself? Do you take a picture of yourself making that donation? When you bring your child to drop stuff at the recycling center, do you load it on your Facebook? To tell the world this is what you did? Likelihood? 2%. Can your company do corporate social responsibility like how you take responsibility for what is right? Not for how many column inch of publicity you can get? When you do that it corrupts the word responsibility. It’s like saying to the world, I feed my kids. […]
February 18, 2011

What does your brand need to give up today?

It’s easy to add things. Put in this additional message. Add this new feature. We will figure out how the market can bear the cost of this. We will put a new spin to this, they will think it’s a real improvement. We should add this additional line, it will convince them. You keep adding and adding, not knowing when to subtract. Perhaps your brand can do better at giving up something. Say less. Add less. Remove. Don’t insert. Simple. But not easy. Seriously, what can your brand give up today?
February 17, 2011

Where does your brand live?

Go to any busy coffee shop and you will see the fruit seller amongst all the food sold there. Not far away, perhaps a satay stall, usually at night. The lottery seller strolls through selling you hope for a future by the beach. Walk to a number forecast outlet (4D), you will likely see illegal DVD sellers, bean curd drink seller and sometimes pisang goreng right at its door step. Occasionally, a fortune teller. But notice, the fortune tellers there don’t do very well. You see good fortune tellers don’t live outside 4D outlets. The good ones are tucked somewhere […]
February 16, 2011

Are you furthering brand loyalty?

Those who have been doing business with you for the longest time – for example, the young girl who used your bank since her first job 18 years ago, upgraded her credit card a few times, taken a few home loans with you. In that time she got married, have kids, bought her home, and a few properties for investment. You “witnessed” her life in her transactions with you. Have you treated her relationship with you as transactional? Why do you deserve her loyalty? She is coveted by your competitors. The same can be said for a lot of brands. […]
February 15, 2011

How have you made it convenient for your customers?

I go to a petrol station near my neighbourhood. As a petrol consumer, I can be segmented into what you call “a brand loyalist.” The loyalist that fills up only with the preferred brand and unless it is an emergency would never go to another brand. And I always go to the one near my home. The owner of this petrol kiosk somehow feels that every pump must have a “red” which is the most expensive variant in its repertoire. Of all the variants, the yellow a (RON 95) is the cheapest, and then the green (RON 97), then red. […]
February 14, 2011

Whose courage have you honoured today?

Those who live in PJ and KL would know the famous chicken rice shop opposite the highway from Saint Ignatius Church. Yes, that one. There is also a famous bak kut teh (BKT) shop there too. Before Chinese New Year, we went there for bak kut teh (BKT) and walked by a new chicken rice shop, the one tucked between these two shops. Now, one would wonder – why would this uncle open a chicken rice shop next to one that is so famous? Can one survive? Anyway, the uncle asked us if we were having chicken rice, we were […]
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